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Thread: I now give up

  1. #1

    I now give up

    After remaking all the connections on my Minn Kota trim tabs and everything working, decided to go fishing last night. Got out to Gneerings with no issues, fished a bit moved on to another spot and the boat started to heel, quick check showed the left trim tab decided to deploy by itself. Reset it but it only lasted 2 mins and kept playing up after that. Interesting trip home, turned everything off, waited about 2 mins, turned it on, quickly set them both to where I thought was reasonably neutral and had my decking pull the fuse. Took 3 goes as had to be quick but got there.

    So going to dig out the original controls which don't include LEDS, luckily I asked the installer to retain them. If these still cause a problem then I figure it's the Actuator but hoping not.

    Oh well, I still got out to have a fish in great conditions.

  2. #2
    Ausfish Bronze Member 552Evo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Melbourne

    Re: I now give up

    I have no experience with these at all but, I'm just thinking from a technical control way.
    When you say the trip tab deployed itself, did it adjust partially or fully to one extreme ?
    Sounds like whatever sensor or feedback mechanism could be the issue ?
    If that is any help ?


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  3. #3

    Re: I now give up

    With water getting into the join as it did there is half a chance it has gotten into the feedback mechanism. Correct me if I am wrong but was it the Minn Kota tabs that moved a certain distance every time you pushed the button?
    "I soak the worms in rum. The fish love em and the worms die happy"
    "Alcohol is not the solution to your problems...................but then again, neither is milk"

  4. #4

    Re: I now give up

    Scottar, they are Minn Kota which is the issue, the supplier to Minn Kota was Johnson Outdoor Inc in the States and as MK are no longer in the business they no longer send to Aust. A couple of dry joints which were between the power module and the Actuator and one of the feedback cables had a cut in it as well between the joint and the actuator. I'm suspecting it might be the culprit giving spurious readings. I don't want to strip it tight back as far as possible at this stage until I am sure it will fix the problem.

    What happened is when I turn power on to the system the left tab would deploy fully. After stripping the joins and resoldering, crimping and sealing tge cables, testing after each one this seemed to solve the problem only to raise it's ugly head again. The more I try to adjust the left trim tab then the indicator switch would lock up, all the background lights would go red, up until then I can still operate the right trim tab normally.

    My plan of action is.
    See if I can find out which feedback mechanism does what, I m not sure how I would go about that as there are 2 power cales plus 3 feedback cables, I don't know what I'm looking for and an auto electrician i know couldn't help me either and the great Internet seems devoid of information on this subject.

    Failing that to restore the original switch and power module which doesn't have the feedback mechanism and power it on and leave it for a day, take it for a test run and if actuator doednt deploy then look to see if anyone has an alternative indicator swith and power module that has worked. Leave this in place for the moment but I would like to have the LEDs as it takes a lot of guesswork out of the equation when conditions aren't the best.

    If the Actuator decides to play up then a complete replacement of the system which is a lot more work due to the way it was installed, all the cables were run through the pod, pia to get to plus sealing issues.

  5. #5
    Ausfish Addict Chimo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Gold Coast

    Re: I now give up

    Dignity

    Would the basic Lenco control unit without the light display get you out of trouble?

    Lets face it after you have used tabs a few times you can feel where the tabs are, you really don't need a light display to know what they are doing.

    Cheers
    Chimo
    What could go wrong.......................

  6. #6

    Re: I now give up

    Quote Originally Posted by Chimo View Post
    Dignity

    Would the basic Lenco control unit without the light display get you out of trouble?

    Lets face it after you have used tabs a few times you can feel where the tabs are, you really don't need a light display to know what they are doing.

    Cheers
    Chimo
    Chimo, I have the basic MK switch and power unit which i got from the installer which I will reinstall as back up, I do go by feel but there are times it would be nice for the display especially as I get older and forget things and I really hate unexplained issues. If I knew whether it was the switch, power module, the wiring harness to the actuators or even the actuators themselves then I could source the correct component. I suspect many things but not understanding electronics I am most probably totally wrong and it has something to do with the weather.

  7. #7

    Re: I now give up

    When you rejoined all connections did you perform some swap tests (L/R actuators), resistance tests and voltage output checks (with switches being operated), with the bare wires etc?

    Still seems a bit suss to me because the fault is intermittent. Did the wire strands inside look OK when you had them stripped Sam?

  8. #8

    Re: I now give up

    Quote Originally Posted by gofishin View Post
    When you rejoined all connections did you perform some swap tests (L/R actuators), resistance tests and voltage output checks (with switches being operated), with the bare wires etc?

    Still seems a bit suss to me because the fault is intermittent. Did the wire strands inside look OK when you had them stripped Sam?
    I was going to but forgot in the excitement of the moment when I found a joint that virtually fell apart in my hands. I will be doing that tomorrow, although my logic tells me it should indicate something yet others have hinted it will not do much other than add to the confusion. If I can get hold of some technical info I am more than happy to share it and see what the experts think. The wire strands from the power module looked good as they were tinned but the wires to the actuators were black, a fishing mate who is an auto electrician didn't seem to think they were a problem. I used some phosphoric acid to clean them before resoldering. I would need some instructions on how to do a resistance test as I mentioned my knowledge is basic, I can check for voltage, check there is a circuit providing there isn't anything complicated but other than that I need assistance. I've also written to the manufacturer in the States hoping to get some sort of indication as both the Switch and the power module cost around $US200 each but if it is in the wiring to the actuator then it could be a problem. The fault is now permanent which is interesting but once again when I strip it tomorrow and see if it brings it back to normal albeit temporarily, once again what does that tell me, a damaged wire maybe.

  9. #9

    Re: I now give up

    Trim tab diagram.jpg

    Diagram is a bit of an assumption Dignity as trying to find technical details on Minn Kota trim tabs is proving difficult to say the least.

    Your 5 wires that go the actuator - two (the larger ones) will be to run the motor (this we do know). The power module will apply a reversing voltage across these wires - one way to make it go out, the other way to make it go in - more than likely 12 volts. Easy to check with a meter

    The other 3 wires is where a bit of guess work and assumption come in. Bets guess is it is a feedback mechanism of sorts. The diagram above is for what I would guess to be the most common type used - a potentiometer - basically a volume control for a stereo but used in reverse. If I am right it will have a positive voltage on one wire - most likely about 5 volts (but could be 12), negative or ground on another wire and the third wire will supply a variable voltage back to the power unit. This voltage will vary dependent on the position of the actuator but can potentially vary from zero through to the same as the positive voltage applied.

    The feedback can be used in one of two ways. It can play an active part in the operation of the tabs - You push the buttons and the computers in the modules move the tabs until the feedback mechanism tells them it is in the right position, or it could be used passively - you position the tabs with the switches and the feedback is only used to report back the tabs position.

    If the feedback is actively used, but is incorrect ( bad connections, broken wires, water damaged sensor, etc) it is plausible that it could well be your issue.

    Working out the feedback mechanism (once again - assuming it is a potentiometer) will be easiest done by taking voltage measurements between various pairs of the feedback wires at varying actuator positions on the working actuator - just make sure nothing gets shorted out. Log them and report back and with any luck one of us can then come up with what to check on the other side.

    Regards

    Scott
    "I soak the worms in rum. The fish love em and the worms die happy"
    "Alcohol is not the solution to your problems...................but then again, neither is milk"

  10. #10

    Re: I now give up

    Thanks Scottar, tomorrow I'll skip the wires back and see what I find, i know which pair are the main supply of voltage as they are the yellow and green wires which are both thicker plus the yellow has the 15 amp fuse. With the 3 remaining thinner wires, white, orange, brown if I was to check the voltage, this I could do but if I use the multimeter and pick a wrong wire will this short something out.

  11. #11

    Re: I now give up

    No. Only an issue if you touch the bared wires against each other or the same metal object.
    "I soak the worms in rum. The fish love em and the worms die happy"
    "Alcohol is not the solution to your problems...................but then again, neither is milk"

  12. #12
    Ausfish Bronze Member 552Evo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Melbourne

    Re: I now give up

    Good work Scottar
    Dignity, if I can offer something that might help your diagnosis,
    Connect your feedback wires into a terminal strip if you have anything like that available and then the wires are less likely to short when you have the meter trying to test.
    Just an idea.
    Something like this terminal strip is what I mean.



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  13. #13

    Re: I now give up

    Thanks EVO, I was going to remove the heatshrink etc and separate the wires through a polystyrene block into which I cut some grooves, that way I keep the wires about 2 cm apart without without breaking the joints. I must admit didn't think about this connectors before soldering the wires.

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